The four-wheeled saviour
THE Land Rover Discovery is, without doubt, one of the most significant models in Land Rover’s long history. That applies globally, but it was especially so here in Australia. Up until its Down Under launch in March 1991 there was only the Range Rover and County for local buyers, with the former already climbing high in asking price and thus out of reach of a large percentage of buyers. The Discovery’s arrival – in three-door, 3.9-litre V8 petrol form, backed by a five-speed manual gearbox – was a huge boost for Land Rover Australia. James Scrimshaw agrees.
“It was huge,” he says. “When we first launched it, it was $44,990 and it was the three-door manual V8. It was a pretty big car. We only had two cars on the market at the time, we had the County and we had the Range Rover – so the Range Rover was quite expensive in comparison and then this car came in.”
The Disco’s various updates – fourdoor, auto gearbox, etc. – kept it humming along sales-wise, and gave the brand a new lease on life Down Under. This was further emphasised with the roll-on effect of Discovery 2 in 1999, then the game-changing Discovery 3 (’05) and 4 (’09), all of which were great sales successes for Land Rover.
“It (original Discovery) was the resurgence of Land Rover in Australia,” Scrimshaw affirms. “It carried us right through the 1990s and the 2000s (including Disco 2/3/4), so for the past two decades it’s been the most important car for us, definitely.”